All posts in Graphics

31 Dec

Christmas Greeting Card

In Christmas,Graphics,Gregorian Greetings by Greg / December 31, 2011 / 0 Comments

I’ve always enjoyed making greeting cards of my own, especially as opposed to buying cards at the store. It’s not that the store bought cards aren’t really nice, many of them are even better than my own cards. What I like about creating my own cards is that I can personalize them, either to something I want it to be, or make them specifically for their recipient. For this Christmas I had many ideas running through my head about how I would create these cards, in fact I spent weeks thinking on different ideas and even shooting a few pictures in anticipation for use in my cards.

It wasn’t until just a few days before card making began that I decided I would try something entirely new and unique this year. I decided to learn and use lightpainted images to draw elements I would use to create the Christmas cards. This turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I thought as it took me many tries to get each element just the way I wanted. The resulting lightpainted images still required quite a bit of adjustment in Photoshop before I could use them in the cards too – mostly masking and free transforming but some required a bit more work than others.

The cool fact about these two greetings I created is that every single element, except the typed text was created from photographs, though not all lightpainted. For example, the snow flake was from a snowflake ornament I took a picture of, and the Xmas lights were from real Xmas lights I photographed out of focus.

They turned out to be the most difficult cards I have created so far. I originally had wanted to create a personalized card for each person I was giving them to but I just did not have time. In fact I was so pressed for time, I didn’t even make cards for all the people I originally wanted to, only close family that I saw over Christmas. So I was really bummed about that, but it was the best I could do, and hey, like many of the things I am doing lately, I learned a lot of new tricks, in lightpainting, photography and Photoshop. I also ran into a lot of trouble getting them printed as I was testing out an external ink system (ie CIS system) for my Canon Pixma 9000 printer, and lets just say the color was so terrible I could not get anything remotely acceptable. I switched back to regular cartridges after wasting 30+ sheets of expensive paper.

So after much blood, sweat and tears, well actually there wasn’t much blood, don’t recall too many tears and only a little sweat, so I guess it was mostly just time…here is the greetings I created. The first is the card and the second is a greeting I created just for my savior:


Christmas Greeting


Savior Greeting

31 Dec

National Metal Day Poster

In Graphics by Greg / December 31, 2011 / 0 Comments

To commemorate National Metal Day, I created a special poster featuring a picture of myself. I originally wanted to do two posters that went together, but I couldn’t get the second to look the way I hoped, so I decided not to do it. The second poster would have had fire to match the orange lighting on my front side in this poster, which is lightning themed. I read a number of different tutorials online on how to make lightning in Photoshop as I was working on this little project. I love coming up with something I want to do and then getting to learn lots of neat new Photoshop tricks to make it possible. It’s also a good reminder that there are so many things I just don’t know how to do yet, because there are still many tools in PS I never even touch, but I am learning!

To shoot the image for the poster, I used two flashes on strobe stands, the flash in back of me with a blue gel filter and one in front with a red gel filter (if I had orange I would have used it instead). I then white balanced and color adjusted the photo carefully to shift the red to orange to match the color of fire a bit better. I also purposely over processed the photo using a Topaz Adjust filter in Photoshop to give it a more dramatic and cartoonish look.

National Metal Day was on 11-11-11, because it’s the only day this century that goes to eleven 3 times, and that’s a very important thing for any guitar amp made for metal. On a normal amp, when you are all the way to 10 on your amp and all the way to 10 on your guitar, where do you go from there? Well amps with knobs that go to 11 are one louder, so you have that extra little bit when you need it.

Along with paying homage to metal, this poster references 3 different favorite things from my younger years. The lightning references Ride the Lightning by Metallica, one of my all time favorite albums. The Thrasher t-shirt and yellow camo pants are from my younger years as a skateboarder. I also used to have matching camo DC shoes which were sweet. Lastly, the position I am taking and the orange lighting on my front side are a reference to the original Doom video game cover, one of my all time favorite video games.

The guitar I am holding is my Ibanez “frankenstein” RG strat. It’s a frankenstein because it was assembled from parts I had laying around from 4 separate guitars, along with a few after market parts I wasn’t using. Nothing about this guitar is normal. The neck came from an RG-120 which I had re-drilled to fit an RG-550 curly maple body (its tinted a deep blue which is why it looks black in this photo). The tuners and Ibanez Double Edge Pro bridge came from my Ibanez RG-1570 which I upgraded. The pickups are DiMarzio Super Distorion’s. The 5-way switch is made for a Fender 3-way single pickup setup, not for dual humbuckers. So I figured out a truly unique wiring for these pickups that gives me some interesting tonal choices on the different positions of the switch. Even the pickup mounting plates for this guitar came from a different model Ibanez (I can’t remember which) but they match the deep grey powder coat finish of the knobs, bridge and tuners. Eventually I would like to mod the neck to put a locknut on it, since floating trems don’t work real well without them.

So ‘nuf with the yacking and hype, check out this poster!

National Metal Day

31 Dec

Thank You Graphic

In Graphics by Greg / December 31, 2011 / 0 Comments

Lately, I have been spending more time learning my way around Photoshop to do things other than process photos. I’ve had a few things recently where I need to make some kind of graphics, and so I took the time to learn a lot of new techniques to create them. On example was for Thanksgiving I created an old paper style graphic, using a tutorial I found here. I only used one photo (actually a scanned image of a piece of paper) to create the whole thing and in the end result it played only a minor role in achieving the effect I was looking for. For me this is quite unlike how I normally like to do things, where I typically rely heavily on photography, even though I realize many things could just as easily be done in Photoshop without using a camera at all.

I think this was pretty good for a first attempt, but I also know I have many things to learn! Here is what it looks like:

ThankYou

You will probably see more postings like this one as I have been doing more and more graphics and its a lot of fun learning fancy new tricks.

02 Oct

First CD Ready

In Events,Graphics by Greg / October 2, 2011 / 0 Comments

I was able to find Lightscribe CD’s at Office Max on sale today, so that was awesome. I then tried out my design on a CD to see how it would look. I am pretty happy with the results. I think in the future I would want to be able to do actual prints on CD’s, rather than lightscribing them. This works pretty well and is a lot more professional than using a Sharpie, especially with my chicken scratch handwriting. The CD label was created in Photoshop and then I am using Nero to print the image onto the CD.

First CD

02 Oct

MHHS Class of 61 Reunion Photos

In Events,Graphics by Greg / October 2, 2011 / 0 Comments

Today I have been working on a jewel case cover and Lightscribe CD label to make nice looking CD’s for the MHHS Class of 61 reunion I photographed a few weeks ago. I was so excited to try making my first ever Lightscribe CD tonight only to discover I bought the wrong CD’s. I must have selected the wrong item when I was ordering them on Amazon. I will have to pay the much higher in-store price for the CD’s tomorrow since I won’t have time to re-order the right ones, and there’s always that suspense of wanting to see if my design looks good or not on a real CD.

On the other hand, I did design and print the jewel case covers successfully today, just waiting on the prints to finish so I can cut them (and hoping my printer won’t run out of ink as it prints through the 50 covers I need to make). I am by no means a graphic designer, but sometimes I get inspired and do something I think turned out rather well. I relied mostly on my photographic skills as all but the main text of this graphic was created from photos – there were 5 separate photos and then several layers of text, all done in PS CS4.

The labels are being printed by my Canon Pixma printer on photo matte paper as I write this, tomorrow when I get the first CD’s burned maybe I’ll take some pics of the final product. For now, here is the jewel case label design:

MHHS Cd cover